It is “unrealistic” to expect the communication mechanism between Beijing and Hong Kong to work well, veteran commentator Ching Cheong said on Monday.

“It is very hard to request that the central government report very high-level activities to a local government… The two places are in a relationship in which there is a superior and a subordinate. It is difficult to request that the other party respect this communication mechanism,” Ching told RTHK.

The comments came as the government embarks upon a one-day trip to the mainland on Tuesday to speak with Beijing over the implementation of a notification system between the city and mainland, following the return of the bookseller Lam Wing-kee.

Ching Cheong. File

The officials in the group include the Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, the Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, the Director of Immigration, the acting Police Commissioner and the Commissioner of Customs and Excise. They will fly back on Tuesday night.

Ching also said that as mainland departments do not understand each other’s duties and that it will be hard to meet a deadline, even if a specific time limit is set for notifications through the mechanism.

Ching was jailed was jailed in China for some 1,000 days in 2005 for alleged espionage crimes while working for Singaporean newspaper The Straits Times.

Rimsky Yuen and Lai Tung-kwok.

The decade-old mechanism states that Hong Kong authorities should be notified by their Guangdong Province counterparts within 14 days when a Hongkonger is detained on the mainland, and vice versa. But the Hong Kong government only received notification months after Lam’s detention.

Starry Lee Wai-king. File

Pro-establishment lawmaker Starry Lee, of The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said at a press conference that she hoped there can be some results following the talks. She said that she had confidence in the trip and that she believed that there “should have been communication with [Beijing] beforehand” if the Secretary of Justice and Secretary of Security are leading the trip.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.